4 stars · Viki's review

Review ‘Battle Dress’

Title: Battle dress
Author: Amy Efew
Series: Standalone
Genres: Young Adult, Military
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Andi Davis is looking for an escape from her disorganized, dysfunctional home life, and West Point seems the only logical way out. Andi figures that given everything she has had to put up with at home, West Point will be a breeze. But nothing could have prepared her for the first six weeks of cadet training, better known as Beast. Andi is screamed at, belittled, and worn down during the long, grueling training that is designed to break cadets and then rebuild them into soldiers. The upper class cadets bark orders so fast that her head spins, and the fact that she is one of only two girls in her platoon makes things even more difficult. But Andi decides that anything is better than going home, anything. This first novel by Amy Efaw, a West Point Class of 1989 graduate, is a powerful and gripping look at an intensely privatecommunity with its own rules and regulations. It shows us the terrors and triumphs of those who want to belong to a team.

My Thoughts

This book took me by complete surprise. I read something similar a couple of years back but I didn’t enjoy it that much as it happened with this book. This story is a pretty entertaining and inspirational, worth every minute of my time and when the book ended I wanted more of it.

The story spans around 5-6 weeks time which is quite short but the plot is pretty intense. The writing style helps to create the right mindset to the book but at some instances it goes into so many details that I had a hard time to follow it. Especially when it was describing special military moves with step by step descriptions. I got quite lost in the ‘her hand faces this way, while her thumb goes that way‘and so and so. The storyline is about finding your way and figuring out of your place in life all of this with a really elaborate and exciting background.
The book falls into the YA genre but I wouldn’t let the younger generation read it, let’s say 15 and up, because no matter how much value and inspiration you can get out of it the story is basically drove by berating and dressing down the student all of this done really strongly not always with swearing but just the mentality behind it bothered me a bit.

The story is told from Andi point of view but in a journal-ish fashion. Andi is really conflicted on a lot of different fronts. Firstly she is really insecure and longs for acknowledgment but the she can’t handle even the smallest critique. She falls apart if someone says anything negative about her but on the opposite side the smallest pride makes her act arrogant. Secondly she can’t decide if she wants a normal teenage life more than she wants to excel in her ‘studies’ and be a useful part of her new team. She chose this school because it provided an escape from her crazy and sometimes cruel family but didn’t prepared enough for it because she kind of shocked by the way they treat them. Like she expected some cuddling and constant praising from them. She goes through a lot of different stages during the story and at the end it turns out that she has the right priorities just afraid to voice them, she is also smart and capable. Her quest to find herself is influenced a bit by her teammates and their different reasons and view about why they are there and what they hope to accomplish. For example Gabi pissed me of with her childish priorities at the beginning of the story and he also throws Andi off a bit, makes her want to wish for a normal teenage life.

This is an amazing story, not really action packed but intense and has a lot of meaning hidden in the plot. I would have liked to know more about how Andi performs after the initial training camp and where she ends up. I feel that her issues with her family didn’t get resolved even so it was a crucial part of Andi story.


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